at cross purposes

at cross purposes

In conflict with or in opposition to. You will never find success if you continue to work at cross purposes with your teammates.
See also: cross, purpose
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

at cross-purposes

with opposing viewpoints; with goals that interfere with each other. We are arguing at cross-purposes. We aren't even discussing the same thing. Bill and Tom are working at cross-purposes. They'll never get the job done right.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

at cross purposes

With aims or goals that conflict or interfere with one another, as in I'm afraid the two departments are working at cross purposes. This idiom, first recorded in 1688, may have begun as a 17th-century parlor game called "cross-purposes," in which a series of subjects (or questions) were divided from their explanations (or answers) and distributed around the room. Players then created absurdities by combining a subject taken from one person with an explanation taken from another.
See also: cross, purpose
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

at cross purposes

If two people are at cross purposes, they think they are talking about or trying to do the same thing as each other, but they are actually talking about or trying to do different things. They had been talking at cross purposes earlier, he realized. The Hungarian hadn't been offering him a share of the deal at all. Now that Council members are working together instead of at cross purposes, the chances of success look considerably brighter.
See also: cross, purpose
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

at cross purposes

misunderstanding or having different aims from one another.
See also: cross, purpose
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

at cross-purposes

Pursuing conflicting or contrary goals, usually unintentionally: We're working at cross-purposes.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Summary: New format Davis Cup, ATP Cup may work at cross purposes
class="MsoNormalMs Mohamed and Teachers Service Commission chief executive Nancy Macharia have been working at cross purposes on the issue, with the commission insisting that it is mandated to decide the entry grade.
Matiang'i said the move was not constitutional but political and transitional adding the commissions work at cross purposes most of the time.
Kiandee explained that his PAC must liaise with other agencies to ensure they are not at cross purposes or being redundant.
It could also prompt the two to work with each other in the war against terrorism instead of at cross purposes.
He said he was also pained to see two states one de facto and the other de jure often working at cross purposes. The de facto called the shots but refused to submit to accountability, he said, lamenting the failure of parliament to bring legislation for accountability of all, including judges and generals.
'When you do both, they cancel each other out--they work at cross purposes."
Clockwise from bottom left: Condor and Helsal 3 at cross purposes; silver spray refreshes on a downwind leg; Team Beau Geste on their way to a com prehensive IRC win.
A grieving husband finds himself at cross purposes with his late wife's best friend in this charming little French drama that deserves to appeal beyond the arthouse brigade.
So, it's no surprise that when they later bump into each other, they both have kids on the brain - and when they end up talking at cross purposes, Shabnam says too much.
A COUNTRY that has abandoned all efforts at creating a saner immigration policy has gotten the result it deserves: not one policy but lots of little ones, acting at cross purposes and nullifying one another.
As much a vivid portrait of beautiful yet unforgiving land as it is a chaotic tangle of people at cross purposes, Faraway Roads is captivating and highly recommended.
When human interests are at cross purposes with the rodents' crazy schemes, fur is sure to fly...
They offer a variety of tools, exercises, and examples from several industries such as Walmart, Pfizer, and Amazon to help companies learn how to create a strategically coherent company in which key elements reinforce each other rather than work at cross purposes.
The new Coalition may appear to be at cross purposes in some respects but make no mistake, both parties are determined to rescue the country from the calamitous black hole left by the